Age and CRP levels predict success when tapering biologics in rheumatoid arthritis

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DMARD tapering, rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis magazine, arthritis digest, arthritis sciencePeople with rheumatoid arthritis may experience more successful tapering of their biologic drugs if they meet a certain set of factors, experts highlighted at a recent international rheumatology conference.

Data from 347 people with rheumatoid arthritis who were being treated with biologic drugs was analysed. A total of 92 people had their treatment tapered, the rest were on stable treatment.

Those who were successfully tapered:

  • Were younger when diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and when they began using biologics;
  • Did not use oral corticosteroids;
  • Had low CRP levels.

“Biologic DMARDs are effective in treating patients with rheumatoid arthritis, but they are associated with high costs and dose-dependent adverse effects,” explains Dr Takaaki Komiya, one of the lead authors. “Biologic DMARD tapering seems to be a feasible approach and it is widely used in clinical practice, but a significant proportion of patients experience relapse.

“The results of this preliminary study may help rheumatologists to differentiate rheumatoid arthritis patients who would successfully down-titrate biologics. This management might result in substantial reduction in costs and possible reduction in dose-dependent side effects.”

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